From the 3rd April 2019, Diageo - the world’s largest spirit producer - will be offering an equal 52 weeks of parental leave to all 4,500 UK employees, with new parents receiving full pay for the first 26 weeks. It is said to be the most generous parental support policy of all large firms of the FTSE 100.
The new scheme is part of Diageo’s ambitious move to encourage gender equality and create a fully inclusive and diverse workforce. The business has confirmed that employees will retain both benefits and bonuses “regardless of gender, sexual orientation or whether they become parents biologically, via surrogacy or adopt.” Additional benefits have also been announced in the hope to strengthen the support for parents on their return to work. These include parental coaching, flexible working policies and independent counselling.
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for women and equalities, commented:
“I’m delighted to see Diageo making this move. Shared parental leave gives both mums and dads the chance to spend quality time with their child in the important first months of their life, creating a bond that will last a lifetime.”
What is shared parental leave?
In 2015, the government introduced shared parental leave, enabling parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave – excluding the two weeks of mandatory maternity leave after childbirth – with 37 weeks of pay to be divided between them. The shared pay and leave have to be used within the first year of the child being born or, in adoption circumstances, once the child is placed with the family. Parents have the option between taking the leave at the same time or choosing to stagger the leave and pay that they receive. Additionally, shared parental leave can be taken in either blocks or consecutively.
However, a recent study from the TUC has found that only a small number of parents have taken advantage of this rule. Last year, just 9,200 out of more than 900,000 eligible parents chose to use shared parental leave. Four years after the scheme was introduced, the TUC found the take-up was still so low because most fathers could not afford to live on of the weekly payment of £145. Currently, men and women who are self-employed do not get any shared leave, while new fathers on zero-hour contracts are also not eligible.
Contact our Maternity, Paternity & Family Rights Lawyers, London
If you are looking for specialist legal advice regarding maternity, paternity, and shared parental leave, or have a general query about family rights in respect to the workplace, get in touch with Cavendish Law today via the online enquiry form.